Viral Presentations – is your PowerPoint infected?

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 by Simon Morton

A good customer of ours was recently extolling the virtues of the fancy new slide deck we’d developed for them.  One comment in particular jumped out when they mentioned that certain slides had become “viral” and had spread around their global business very quickly.

Virus - FramedTo be honest, we were pretty pleased. We saw this as a firm stamp of approval for our work and for a while we walked around with a nice warm glow.

But gradually something began to dawn. Whilst this was extremely positive feedback and demonstrated the slides were high impact and providing a great return on their investment, it also created a potential problem.

You see, the PowerPoint presentation we’d created was essentially a discrete piece of work.  Using our Presentation Optimisation process, the deck had been crafted around a specific story, with an audience specific key message and a structure specific to the objective of that presenter. 

So what happens if someone from another part of the business spots that Slide 14 has some great content on it and copies it into their presentation? You run the very real risk of the slide now being shown out of context – in basic terms, does Slide 14 really work without Slide 13 and 15 to introduce and support it?

What needs to happen is a broader piece of work that ensures that the snazzy new slides are only shared within a company when a full understanding of the context has been reached. 

Now don’t get me wrong – this is a lovely quandary to be faced with and we’re pleased as punch that our client’s are getting their money’s worth.  We’re just in the process of reminding them of our longstanding mantra – focus on developing an effective presentation, not just a pretty one.  We’re sure you’d agree…

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One Response to “Viral Presentations – is your PowerPoint infected?”

  1. Miguel.M says:

    “…reminding them of our longstanding mantra – focus on developing an effective presentation, not just a pretty one.”

    Well Simon, as we say in Portugal, “you’ve just sticked your finger in the wound”!

    Unfortunately, it often happens to all of us “fighting” in this niche.

    It has been a long and sometimes painfull road to achieve the respect presentations design deserve among other communication tools.

    Some clients were able to understand and respect that.
    But (too) many of them still look at us not as communication design professionals adding value to their work, but as fashion designers who just dress their ugly looks with pretty garments.

    You work hard developing an effective presentation, of course it also turns into a more visually appealling presentation but, many times,
    I still wonder if they spot the difference between “effective” and “prettier”.

    That’s were I differentiate “Clients” from “Customers”.

    And when “customers” often have the nerve to say they just hired you/us
    because they didn’t get the time to do it themselves (?)…

    These are then, downgraded from “customers” and archived in the “AH” section…

    Oh and I had so much more to tell about…

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